One of our longtime members, Bob, asks, “Must one have a blog before one publishes a book?” Bob, goes on to ask if a blog is the same as a platform. I’m going to answer that right now.
Do I need a blog?
There is no rule in the world of publishing that says an author must have a blog, a twitter, or anything else. However, these things can help close a deal but only if you know how to use them.
There is a world of difference between having a blog (or website of any kind) and using one. Unless you are prepared to use your blog, then it serves no purpose.
In terms of closing a publishing deal, a solid platform can demonstrate that your book is worth investing in.
So, what is a platform?
An author platform is that space an author makes for themselves whereby they have a platform to address people from. In other words, an author platform is whatever you do as an author that people pay attention to.
I’ll say that again. Your platform is whatever you do that keeps the attention of your audience. It is that simple.
This is why we recommend a blog. Ideally, a good year or two before your first book is finished.
You can never start a blog soon enough
Seriously, Andy Weir started a website ten years before his book deal. When the book deal came along he had a loyal following and ended up with a book and a movie starring Matt Damon. Weir’s website was not even all that good. In fact, Weir admits his website was terrible.
It is no good putting up a website, twitter, and Facebook page the month before your book is released. It will not hurt but it is highly unlikely to make a blind bit of difference.
Instead, start now. Start when you are still writing. Talk to your readers about how the writing process is going. Talk about your research. Talk about the ups and downs of writing. Talk about your character ideas.
One of the things that Andy Weir did with his (ugly as sin) website was that he got feedback from fans. By keeping readers in the creative loop he created a following and launched his career.
You tell me, do you need a blog?
Can you afford to not have a solid platform of some kind? Possibly not.
Do you need a blog? No, but can you afford to go without?